“Ah, go boil yer heads, both of yeh,” said Hagrid. “Harry—yer a wizard.”
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Page 50
And so the magic begins.
Reading-wise, I had completely forgotten that it was a children’s book. After living the adventure through the screen, my mind has latched onto the last part of the story where the beloved main characters are older, You-Know-Who poses a real threat, and my knowledge of magic is a bit more advanced than Harry in the first few pages of this book.
I believe as the series developed and the characters got older, so did the content. The story became darker and more complicated as it went on, which at the time of the publication of each book, was great because the readers would be growing up along with Harry.
Coming back to the very beginning where it’s a very simple story with writing intended for a much younger audience, it was almost as if I were a kid again myself. When I got to read Harry’s letter of acceptance into Hogwarts, I felt a twinge of hope that maybe it was all real, maybe I could go too. In a way, it made the story that more magical.
It’s certainly been very fun reading the book and knowing big details that mean nothing in the first book. At the first mention of Sirius Black, I got excited, because I knew he would become a much bigger character later on.
Of course, the images in my head as I read are heavily influenced by the films, but that just made me notice the big differences between the two even more. Like the fact that Harry actually has green eyes rather than Daniel Radcliffe’s blue eyes. Those tiny details make reading the books all worth it.
As I was getting the inside scoop, I felt like I was slowly making my way into a part of the fandom I was never a part of and that in itself is rewarding. Those details also made the whole experience for me. When Harry and Hagrid explored Diagon Alley for the first time, I felt like I was right there next to them, browsing the amazing books and potions and supplies as we passed by the shops.
I was able to enhance my reading experience in two big ways. First, I listened to ASMR ambience videos. I follow a channel called ASMR Rooms that creates videos of the sounds of specific locations in order to create the illusion that you are in that actual space. She has a multitude of Harry Potter themed videos, so I used those as I read to really immerse myself into the story.
I began the story on 4 Privet Drive and read about the Dursleys as I sat in their home. I rode the Hogwarts Express train with Harry and Ron, listening to the train go along the tracks and the chatter of students. I joined them in the Gryffindor common room. It was almost like a mix of the two things I love most: the story that the book was telling and the bring-it-to-life element of sound and visuals from the films.
Second, I rejoined Pottermore. When I was talking to a good friend of mine, he said he wasn’t sure which house he was a part of. I told him he should make a Pottermore account and find out. With that conversation, I got curious and tried to log back into mine, but I had made my account when it was just first coming out, when only the very first three chapters of the first book were available to explore. Back when account names like CauldronPatronus99202 were given to you.
The website has since then evolved, so I had to make a new account. I actually really enjoyed trying out the quizzes again and finding out about my wand (Sycamore wood with unicorn hair, 10″), my patronus (Irish Wolfhound), my Hogwarts House (Slytherin, Always) and even my Ilvermorny House (Pukwudgie). I definitely plan to go back to Pottermore as my reading goes on to get an even better inside look of the wizarding world.
I am getting to the point where I can’t put the book down which is slightly problematic considering I want to write my initial reaction to all the books’ first 100 pages at the very least, but considering my trip to Florida is coming up soon, I also have no time to waste.
I am about to enter the doors of Hogwarts. Let’s see what else this book has to offer.